"Everyone in Boston is disgusting": http://www.theonion.com/articles/red-sox-sell-out-of-commemorative-collapse-2011-ha,26212/
This is what you get for joining Boston, Carl Crawford. I thought we had something special. You are an embarrassment. It's sad. I feel a high schooler who just realized she's been pining away for a total loser for so long, and he's not worthy of her adoration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0FoSmMUEL4
God, this is funny. And yet also so scary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QijpwREKwus
To be clear, the Yankees are saying hello to the Post Season. The Red Sox are saying goodbye to their remaining fibers of dignity, as well as the regular season of baseball. I hate the first day of the offseason. That must be so asphyxiatingly horrible for fans right now.
I would at least try to be sympathetic (maybe) if they didn't spend all their free time being like little bombs on a minesweeper game, that I invariably run into when I'm just trying to go about my day.
Days that already painful enough as is, so maybe I'm being extra irritable and insidiously gleeful about this collapse. For the last week, I've been "sleeping" in the office. I put that in quotes, because sometimes I didn't even get the luxury of curling up in the armchair and wrapping myself in the Yankees fleece blanket I got for free when I signed up for a credit card outside of Yankee Stadium one time.
HOWEVAH, there is NOTHING on God's green earth, no amount of work, NOTHING, that is going to prevent me from inking a post on last night, the night that everyone can point to one day as the Reason Baseball is America's Pasttime.
Where to begin?
Maybe this would be a good place to start. Let's go back to 2007. The following is an article I wrote after the Mets blew like a 9899 game lead, consequently ushering the Phillies into the playoffs.
“How did you go bankrupt?”
“Two ways: gradually, and then suddenly.”
-Ernest Hemmingway, The Sun Also Rises
Thank you, Queens.
Thank you for doing the impossible.
Thank you for flooding the headlines and monopolizing the morning news.
Thank you for securing your own special spot in history and diluting ours.
Thank for liberating us from the stigma that has been emblazoned on our psyches since October 21, 2004.
And mostly, thank you for finally disencumbering us from the toxic ownership of “the biggest collapse in Major League Baseball history.”
I know how you feel.
But I also know how Yankees fans felt for the past 159 days, subjected to all these hopped-up Mets fans spitting vitriol at the seemingly hapless Yankees. If I hadn’t had to listen to the unprovoked jeering and ribbing issued by cocky Mets fans for three-quarters of the season, I would let sleeping mutts lie. But the fact is, they poked at us with giant foam Number #1 hands, while we hoped against hope the whole “Just you wait til after the All-Star break!” battle cry wouldn’t be in vain.
So while my sympathy for the Mets and their fans is marginal at best, I still owe them gratitude for doing what I didn’t think would ever happen in my lifetime. They lifted the cross Yankees fans have been bearing since 2004. And while so many will still try to strap it back on us, insisting our choke was worse, it’s a moot point.
When it comes down to it, I’d take the disgrace of the 2004 ALCS Yankees collapse in a heartbeat over the 2007 Mets debacle. In a heartbeat.
Witnessing the Mets collapse unavoidably brought back flashes of 2004, and as painful as it’s been for the last 3 years to even think about that time, I couldn’t look away. On Sunday afternoon, the pull of the proverbial car wreck proved stronger than the need to stay on top of my football bets and fantasy players. From the second my mom called and spurted, “Turn off the Jets and put on the Mets ASAP. You gotta see this,” I was mesmerized.
I watched as New York Mets fans experienced the unbridled hell of not only saying goodbye to their season, but having to do so in the face of a cataclysmic choke. At home. After being in first place since May 15, for 75% of the regular season. While the Phillies, THE PHILLIES, celebrated their new division title less than 100 miles away.
By the 6th inning of the game, the announcers had launched into the unnerving and foreboding countdown no fan on the brink of season termination ever needs to hear: “They’re now __ strikes/outs away from the end.” By then, the camera men had completely lost interest in the game in favor of capturing the faces of utter devastation lining Shea. The lights-out, too-little-too-late, 13K, 1-run plugging job from the Mets’ bullpen meant nothing to a long-muted stadium.
As I stayed glued to the TV and continued to ignore the Yankees last regular season game and the flurry of football action, I had to wonder how this could really be the end to the Mets’ dominant season. I had to wonder if the baffling brawl on the previous night hadn’t happened, if the Mets would have been playing a less incensed Marlins team. And I had to wonder if this really could, in fact, usurp the title as Worst Choke Ever. Did the Mets really have it in them?
Turns out they did.
Yankee-haters will purport til they’re blue in the face that the Bronx Bombers still retain the rights to this dubious distinction, but as far as I’m concerned, the curse has been lifted. Not just because I want an excuse to escape the harrowing monkey on our backs, but because, after weighing all the evidence, I realized a few things:
1.) The Mets were the favorite.
The Yankees headed into the ALCS as the underdog. We were never the favorite to win, unlike the heavily favored Mets. This is why, among many other reasons, that the Mets will never be “New York’s Team.” They just don’t know how to reign because they’re too uncomfortable at the top.
It’s like in “Teen Wolf” when nobody-high-schooler Scott Howard becomes a supernova with his werewolf alter-ego. He’s flying high on life and leaving his old second-tier buddies in the dust, until he gets too uneasy in his sovereign role. So he opts to shed it all at once, losing the hot blond cheerleader, the lead in the play, and all the other special perks that come with the ability to grow a pelt and fangs at will.
Like the teen wolf, the Mets don’t seem to feel at home at the top. They just don’t know how to be a juggernaut (unless their roster is built of juvie hall alums, a la 1986.) Their very nature can’t accommodate dominance and power, so they revert to the anemic, torpid National Leaguers who are as threatening as an acorn.
2.) The odds were staggering.
The odds of the Yankees losing with a 3-0 lead on the Sox were roughly 19 to 1. Which, by my count, is less than the 500 to 1 odds of the Mets blowing a 7 game lead with 17 games left to play. We lost 4 games in a 7-game set playing one team. The Mets played 4 different clubs during their collapse, some of which were barely hanging off the bottom of the standings. The Sox had the same chance of a 4-game comeback as I have buying a scratch-off card and winning a buck on it. The Mets had the same chance of disintegrating as there is of an asteroid attacking the earth within the next 25 years.
3.) They relinquished the title–no one stole it.
If I dated a guy who cheated on me and ultimately left me for another woman, I’d be hurt and angry and embarrassed. But if I found out years later that he ended up marrying this woman, I’d realize that, hey, it obviously was meant to be. The Sox killed us and then finally got their damn WS ring. It was their year, and 2004 was more a testament to their talent and resilience, from the ALCS comeback to the MACH3-speed World Series set. The Yankees were just a casualty along the way.
The Phillies weren’t surging ahead or going on 8-game winning streaks. While I give the Phils credit for seeing an opening and jumping at it, they didn’t win the division as much as the Mets lost it. In their final 17 days, the Mets were outscored 115-98, left 141 runners on base (an average of 8.3 per game), and made 21 errors, with the “best shortstop in NY” sporting a hefty .187 BA. These gems are egregiously more glaring then the stats streaming from Utley, Rollins, and Howard.
The Mets have no one to blame but themselves.
4.) Both the fans and the team took the arrogance too far.
The Yankees themselves aren’t arrogant, and if they are, they’re smart about hiding it. They don’t run their mouths off. They don’t showboat. Yankee fans, yes. But as Stinger tells Maverick in Top Gun, “Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.” Yankee checks don’t bounce because we got 26 rings in the bank.
The Mets were cocky jackasses all season. Delgado even said, “We have so much talent on the team, sometimes it gets boring to play.” (What does this even mean? Why would it be boring to play with a skilled club?) I’m thinking now that his aforementioned boredom is nothing compared to having your October schedule prematurely cleared for you.
Their fans were just as bad, if not worse. All year I had to listen to those manic imbeciles clucking about the messy state of the Yankees. Every kind of fan has had their turn in telling me the Yanks suck, but it NEVER bothers me as much as when it comes from a Met fan. If for no other reason, the fact they’re in the freaking National League! It’d be like Squints Palledorous giving A-rod batting tips. Know your role, Mutts.
5.) The Yankees made the playoffs.
I got to see the Yanks clinch the division on the final home game of the season with a Bernie Williams walk-off in a comeback win. I watched them come back from getting shut down by Santana in Game 1 to win the next 3 games in the ALDS. I watched them take down the Sox in 3 consecutive games, and then watched 3 more amazing ball games before the gut-wrenching Game 7.
Unless your team finishes with a World Series Championship, the end of the season is devastating, whether it ends in a dramatic implosion or an anticlimactic fizzle. There are few things I hate more than the prevailing emptiness that defines Day 1 of the offseason. I remember going to Game 7 of the NLCS last year and being crazy jealous of all the Mets fans: they were watching their team chase a championship. Yankee fans were watching the new Fox fall lineup.
See, the only thing worse than the season ending is having to watch other teams still play on. Baseball season only lasted 4 days beyond our collapse. Mets fans have to suffer through another month of this. It’s like trying to pull off some inane Senior Prank, getting caught, being put on probation for the rest of the year, and then having to watch all your friends go to prom and graduation and engage in all the other Dazed and Confused-esque end-of-year hijinx, while you rot away in solitary confinement/detention.
6.) They fell from 159 days of superiority.
Our fall was much shorter. There was one day when we thought we were a lock for the World Series. ONE. DAY. The time from the 19-8 rout in ALCS Game 3, to the final moments of the 12-inning, 4+ hours-long Game 4, when a walk-off from Ortiz started extinguishing our spirits while igniting theirs.
The Mets had an entire season of slicing through the NL. No one could come close to catching them, in the standings or on the basepaths. They were flying through the season like Super Mario with star-induced invincibility. Months of hope and excitement and delirious anticipation—killed. Shut down like a weapon-less little Mario in Bowser’s castle.
Similarly, the Yanks’ decline itself only lasted 3 days. It was brutal but swift. We barely saw it coming, and when we did, it was too late. Mets fans had to suffer through an entire month of watching them unravel, of marinating in the fear that they very well may blow the season. Why didn’t Willie Randolph do anything sooner? (My sister’s boyfriend’s theory, “I think he just looked at Torre and thought, `Ok, Torre just sits there and does nothing–seems to work for him! I’m gonna try it.’”)
Those final weeks were slow and agonizing and disturbing. If 2004 was like the bird that flew into Randy Johnson’s fastball during Spring Training, then 2007 is like the squirrel my parents’ 108lb cat drags into the house, renders semi-dead, and then just bats around til the squirrel has been completely stripped of its physical faculties, dignity, and will to survive before ultimately flatlining. Not unlike Glavine, I guess.
And it’s for all these reasons that the 2004 Yankees have passed the scorch of a broken season onto a new generation of chokers. There is, however, one aspect of 2004 that edges out 2007.
Outside of the Bronx, everyone hates the Yankees. The reason that collapse was so powerful and monumental and profoundly tragic was because it was like Bastille Day all over the country. When the Mets lost, a melting pot of emotions emerged, running from amazement to sympathy to vindictive bemusement. There wasn’t quite the same celebratory backlash as there was in 2004:
Ambiguous MLB fan #1: Geez, how bout those Mets, huh?
Ambiguous MLB fan #2: Yeah, I wonder how Long Island Joey is taking it. We should call him!
AMLB1: Nah, I don’t want to rub it in.
AMLB2: Yeah, wait a week. Poor dude.
AMLB1: HOLY CRAP.
AMLB2: I KNOW! Let’s call CYC. Now. And sing “Sweet Caroline” and chant 1918 and “Yankees Suck” in a symphonic medley of hate.
AMLB1: I already did, dude.
AMLB2: Ok, then let’s call again!
AMLB1: I tried. Her mailbox is full.
AMLB1: Wanna try again anyway?
When I woke up this past Monday morning, I thought about Mets fans. I thought back to Friday, October 21, 2004, the morning after I had to leave Yankee Stadium for the last time that year, with the deafening Boston cheers underscoring the Bronx’s misery.
I knew what Mets fans were feeling as they oscillated between calling in sick and pulling themselves together for work. (And even though I had tried to be responsible, my boss had ultimately waved me away after 2 hours in the office: “I don’t know anything about baseball, but I know something bad happened to the Yankees last night. You look like you got hit by a bus, and you look like hell. Just go home.”)
“Just go home.” Those same words have now ushered the Mets out of playoff contention and into the unforgiving and stale offseason. Gradually, and then suddenly.
I know how you feel.
So thank you, Queens, for outdoing yourselves. For throwing the trump card on the year the Evil Empire struck out. You did it, and you should take comfort in the fact that this historic choke gave you something you’ve always wanted:
The Mets finally beat the Yankees.
And now? In 2011...the Red Sox have the dubious distinction of doing something worse than the Mets. I mean, it doesn't get much worse than that. (Sorry, Mets fans.) It's like in the end of "Can't Buy Me Love" when Ronald loses his popularity status, and instead of going back to baseline (dork), he's completely alone. Worse than dork. He's in the company of no one, and the next closest tier is pretty bad.
Damn, bro. He's in Siberia. I know, man. The mutants over there won't even go near him. He went from, like, totally chic to totally geek.He's been banished!So, yeah, and in the words of Al Pacino at the end of "Scent of a Woman"...
OH, I'M JUST GETTING WARMED UP.
To sum up what went down last night in the most simplest of terms, I'm going to defer to ESPN, who is either giddy over this rosetta stone of ridiculous story lines...or catatonic over the collapse of their Red Sux mascots. I don't really care either way, but here's what Buster Olney had to say in recapping terms:
The Yankees hadn't lost a 7-0 lead in the eighth inning or later since 1953, and that's what happened. The Red Sox were undefeated this year when holding leads after the eighth inning, yet they lost. There were four games involving the wild-card races Wednesday, and in three of those, a team came to within one out of victory, and lost. At 11:40 p.m., the Atlanta Braves matched the greatest September collapse in history, and 25 minutes later, the Red Sox set a new standard for September collapses. And Evan Longoria's game-winning homer was merely the second in history that propelled a team into the playoffs, on the last day of the season; the other belongs to Bobby Thomson. Somebody will write a book on baseball's greatest day ever.
I mean, it was head-spinning. I've been feeling pretty ill all day and I can't decide if it's the lack of sleep, the lack of eat, the metaphorical baseball hangover from last night, or the preliminary nausea that takes residence in my gut the very moment the playoffs start (and doesn't check out until the second the playoffs end). I don't know, one of those reasons is contributing to my malaise, but I guess I can't really complain because the bottom line(s) is/are that:
Boston is the proud owner of the worst collapse in baseball history.
Even better, they CANNOT point to the collapse in 2004, because the last team to blow a 3-0 lead in the playoffs...was the Boston Bruins.
And even if they instinctively jump to that "Whatever, we have Tom Brady and you don't. All hail football season!" lame rationalizing, they still have the bitter taste of blowing a game to the Bills last week. A game in which Brady threw 4 INTs.
So, here's some great stuff from the NYTimes. (And that's the last time I'll ever, ever say that sentence again.)
- The Red Sox had just a 0.3 percent chance of failing to make the playoffs on Sept. 3
- The Rays had just a 0.3 percent chance of coming back after trailing 7-0 with two innings to play
- The Red Sox had only about a 2 percent chance of losing their game against Baltimore, when the Orioles were down to their last strike
- The Rays had about a 2 percent chance of winning in the bottom of the 9th, with Johnson also down to his last strike
I remember the Boston Herald and all the yahoos from Red Sux Nation yelping about how the 2011 team was going to actually trump the 1927 Yankees. (Say one thing about Boston, when they make comparisons, they aim high. I mean, it's really a little indicative of some kind of manic personality disorder.) And I remember this morning, when I came into work to see a slew of emails from coworkers all passing around the cover of the latest Boston Herald.
And I remember just 2 days ago, seeing the new cover of ESPN Magazine. Just like Sports Illustrated has jinxed every cover-future-star, ESPN may be responsible for their precious Beantown Bitches' collapse. Go more overboard, publishers. Good God.
I told Amanda this morning, "Now we have to deal with all the Boston dumbasses saying the Yankees threw the game."
Amanda replies, "Um, we could probably say the same thing about their team."
I'm not saying I thrilled about the playoff situation facing us in about 16 hours. Verlander vs Tubbo.com is exciting at best, and utterly terrifying at worst. So I'm not thinking past the ALDS, as I also remember all too vividly the 2006 ALDS when I was soooo happy the Yanks got the Tiggers instead of the Twinks. Phew! And yeah, then Kenny Rogers almost throws a perfect game to knock us out in 4 games.
So did it matter if the Sux made the playoffs or not? Why were all of us kinda a little bit hoping the Yanks would roll over for the Rays? For me, it was because I hate Boston and I am happy their fans are miserable right now. Not all of them. Evan, Nate, Lee, and a handful of others (if that many) are actually cool people, and not in a "cool for a Sox fan" way, but cool by any standards. So I wasn't happy about that part.
But for the scores of assclowns in NY who walk around with Boston hats and make a big show of being all "What, my team is awesome, f*&# you Skankees"... you know the type... for those dipshits, I feel nothing but smugness. And more importantly, how refreshing is it to know that on Friday night we can watch Game 1 of the playoffs and not have to keep 1 eye on the Red Sox score?
And even better, we don't have to worry about dealing with Boston fans at the bars we watch the game at. Because Boston fans don't have a leg to stand on right now. They make one utterance of a cheer for Detroit, they so much as make one clap against the Yankees...well, it's basically like a fat chick starting a fight with you. They can't get too aggressive and in your face...because at the end of the day, it just takes "You're the biggest chokers in history" or "You're the biggest chick in history" to send them home.
As for the Braves...whatever, I don't care about the National League right now.
In fact, I care about very little right now beyond the playoffs.
I'm starting to get that stomach thing again. It's both wonderful and miserable at the same time.
We live for this--these heartstopping moments we feel most alive.
Welcome to the postseason.
Do work, Yanks. Never save anything for the swim back.
Like I was gonna let a little thing like unruly work hours get in the way of paying homage to my all time favorite Yankee ever. I feel like one of those dudes who has to steal away from shoe shopping with his gf/job interview/his own wedding..to run off and check the status of his fantasy team or something.
Yeah, I want to be able to say that at some point I’ll be able to leave the office on time, and that if I keep plugging away for a few more years, I’ll hit that career nirvana. But every time I think I’m in the clear and I got all the time in the world to reclaim my life and actually follow a game live (or even better, at the game!), the whole NYC cliché of corporate rat racing etc comes into play. (You know that old saying, “No one ever put ‘I wish I spent more time in the office’ on his tombstone”? It’s hard for me to envy that guy BECAUSE HE’S NOT IN THE OFFICE, HE’S ASLEEP.)
Anyways, the point of that delirious rant was more to offer testament to how nothing is going to keep me from putting down a word or two about Mariano Rivera, and then Wednesday afternoon... (Ok, I feel like there should just be a universal rule that "tomorrow" starts when you wake up, not at 12am. I hate when it's like 2am and someone says ok I'll see you tomorrow, and then we have to go through the whole hahaha how hilarious, it IS tomorrow!) Ok so tomorrow I will toss in a few cents about the Red Sux, Tampa, and how I love this time of year. A lot.
So here we go. It’s 4am, which gives me exactly 1.5 hours to cover things. I think I’ve gotten worse under pressure, though. I haven’t hit the last cup in Beirut since like the Reagan administration basically. I'm not entirely sure what the exact number would be, but I'd say pretty galactically high, in terms of the amount of money I'd pay to play a best out of 3 beirut series with Mo. And every time someone was like, "Nah man I'm like the Mariano Rivera of the last cup," he'd get all flustered and have to backpedal and change it to something like "I mean, uh, sorry man. I meant I'm like the uh closing ceremonies emcee of the last cup?"
(You know what I just realized? Another amazing thing about Mo is that he’s sooo iconic that you can use him as the barometer of greatness. Like I love it when someone’s trying to explain something to me—whether it’s politics or cars or healthcare—and the second he or she senses I’m confused, I get “Ok, you know what it’s like? INVANZ is the Mariano Rivera of anti-infectives. Because it’s the most reliable and you use it in life-threatening situations where you need the most powerful gun you got.” How many people in the world can ever say that they’ve been used as the quintessence of awesome? “Oh yeah, she’s like the Crazy Yankee Chick of_____” What? Crazy? Actually, I'm ok with that. Score.)
Mo gets his record breaking save at home, #602, and everyone in the stands are up on their feet, snapping pictures, getting goosebumps (I’d imagine, because I was just watching it on my computer monitor and I STILL was getting all light-headed and choked up just seeing it.) Mo is all smiles after he strikes out the last batter in the bottom of the 9th, on 3 strikes. How fitting!
You know what else is amazing about Mo? NO ONE, no fan of any team, of any sport, no matter what, can ever say one disparaging word about him. He’s perfect.
And not in a polished-Jeter way.
And not in a bland-personality-but-ok-he-was-a-cancer-survivor-and-hasn’t-really-done-anything-outspoken-so-he’s-ok Jon Lester way.
But in a “See him? Yeah that’s the way I want you kids to play on the field” pep talk to your sons when they’re old enough to start Little League, kind of way.
There’s the Terrell Owens-Jonathan Papelbon ilk of athletes, who may be talented, but who play like Sidney Dean, not Billy Hoyle.
Then there’s the Mariano Riveras. Quiet grace, unmatched talent, unerring consistency, and most importantly, he’s competitive because he wants to win.
Yeah in theory, people are competitive because they want to win, by design. But his sense of competition is so focused, so unaffected, so organic and unprocessed, that people rarely if ever see him demonstrate even the slightest hint of fervor over this game we all live and die for. My buddy Ollie told me last year “Unless you’re a Yankee fan, you hate your closer. Every bad loss that sticks out in your memory usually is attributed to a tight game blown in the end, and the closer’s the guy attached to it.”
Interesting point. We take #42 for granted so much, not just that he’ll come in and pitch twenty 91 mph cutters and wipe his hands of the game as we all swim in the sweet sound of Frank Sinatra’s NY, NY echoing through the stadium halls.
We take it for granted that when other closers are showboating or throwing chairs or screaming or bad-mouthing anyone he thinks will torpedo him into the “He Must Be Cool Because He Irreverantly Bashed. __________.” Other closers lose their tempers. Mo’s blood pressure seems so low that sometimes you wonder whether or not he’s cognizant of what planet he’s on.
I love because there’s only 1 time I can think of that he didn’t demonstrate his usual responsibility and culpability in a post-loss interview. It was 2005, and he had blown what felt like 4000 saves (read:3) and 2 of which were against the Sux. After the 2nd one, he said “I’m only human, I’m not a machine.”
Which bothered me because, well, a.) he’s not human, he’s like John Coffey in the Green Mile or something. And b.) Mo never postures as a superstar, he just plays like one. I got sad when I heard him say “I’m not a machine” because I like to think that Mo is like one of those hot guys who was a dork growing up and hence doesn’t exactly see how adorably good looking he is now.
Of course, any residual disappointment about this un-Mo-ness, was immediately erased in the next game against the Sux, who all started giving Rivera a standing O . Because it’s Boston, we know it wasn’t out of fundamental respect for of Major League Baseball, but because it was “Fenway Faithfuls"' cute way of being condescending.
That’s right. The BOSTON RED SUX were laughing at the greatest of all time, a guy they saw to be beneath them. Anyways, in response to THIS game, when asked “How did it feel to hear all of Fenway cheering for you? His response was outstanding beyond the telling of it.
BOSTON -- It was just a few minutes after the World Series championship banner had been raised in center field, but the Red Sox fans were ready to welcome the Yankees to Fenway Park.
One by one, the Bronx Bombers were introduced to the sellout crowd, and one by one, each player with "New York" across his chest was being booed.
Jaret Wright? Boo. Randy Johnson? Boooo. Heck, even Andy Phillips got booed.
Then came the most bizarre moment of the day. Mariano Rivera's name was called, and as the closer stepped out of the dugout, the crowd broke into a standing ovation.
Rivera, who blew two saves against the Red Sox in last October's ALCS, then blew two more last week at Yankee Stadium, laughed at the applause, tipping his hat to the crowd.
"It surprised me. I didn't know they loved me so much here," said a grinning Rivera. "It was nice. I enjoyed it. I had to laugh."
"I thought he was a good sport about it," said manager Joe Torre, the only other Yankee to receive some applause. "We all know Mariano. He understands this game. When you do well and they jeer you, you handle that. When they mockingly cheer you, you handle that. When people take time to recognize you, it's a credit to who you are and what you are."
Rivera has had an aura of invincibility for most of his brilliant career, but there have been questions raised over the past week whether he has lost something off of his trademark cutter, or whether the Red Sox are simply in his head.
Whatever the problem may or may not be, the right-hander has clearly struggled against the Sox more than any other opponent, suffering nine of his 23 regular-season blown saves since 2001 against Boston.
"That was classic," said Alex Rodriguez, who received the loudest boos of any Yankees player. "I never thought I'd see the people of Boston cheering for Mariano Rivera. That was a first -- and hopefully it will be the last time."
"You probably won't hear that too much anymore," said Derek Jeter. "It was funny. He enjoyed it."
Some players may not have taken the "cheers" quite as well as Rivera did, but the laid-back Panamanian simply took it in stride.
"I felt honored," Rivera said. "What was I going to do? Get upset and start throwing baseballs at people? You just roll with it."
Yes, Mo. I would in fact like you get up and start throwing baseballs at people. And so would they. Seriously. Maybe then they’ll cease and desist from cheering every time one of their pitchers drills Arod in the head.
I love Mo because his smile makes everything awesome, but not as awesome as his cutter does. I love him because he’s the embodiment of icy intimidation—it’s like how, if someone is infuriating me, I’d rather let him talk himself into a hole while I look on with a blank stare. Nothing is disarming than your opponent’s calmness in the face of your terror.
And if we’re gonna do that whole number thing that I know sports fans are allegedly all hot on:
Mo was born in 1969, the year the “save” became a legit stat. When he tied Trevor at 601, it was his 42nd save of the year. Then there’s—wait for it—actual stats. Like real people stats. As if 602 wasn’t the only number you needed to hear to KNOW that, like Joe D’s record, our favorite Panamanian is going to hold the record for eternity.
(Which is somewhat more impressive than the 200 Ws from Wakefield, that coincided on Mo’s 600, forcing the question of what was more impressive. HOW IS THIS A QUESTION? Geez, I’m like continually astounded by how obsolete logic has become (and this is coming from the consummate irrational chick herself).
You know what’s a good litmus test for IMPRESSIVE? HAS ANYONE ELSE EVER DONE IT?
Mo: Nope. He’s at the top by himself.
Wakefield: In the company of 110 other pitchers.
It doesn’t matter that Mo only pitches a few innings a week. We’re not comparing what’s more difficult between the 2, we’re comparing what’s more impressive. And for my money, I’m going with the Chart Topper every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
BUT, if you DO need some additional proof of his ridiculousness EVEN IN the grand scheme of ALL pitchers:
- Given up the 6th least hits per nine innings
- 26th best strikeout rate
- 4th best strikeouts to walks ratio
- 5th highest WPA (Win Probability Affected, which means how much the one player influenced the outcome of the game. I love the fact there’s a stat for this.) Mo is in the top 5 of ALL pitchers ever.
- And lastly, he has the highest ERA+ of all time (which obviously is not ERA since that wouldn’t even make any sense. It’s like ERA only it’s measured against league averages and factors in ballparks. The Mendoza line so to speak with this stat is that anything over 100 is better than average, below 100 is subpar.
The next highest in history is Pedro Martinez. At 154.
The thing about those last few stats is that they don’t favor relievers, unlike ERA and WHIP. They’re stats that rely on aggregation of numbers, ie volume of situations.
Despite this, Mo never falters. He says he’s only human, but if he is, then he’s the most human immortal I know. And Yankee fans are so damn lucky for him. Our Saving Grave.
Thank you, Mo. And congratulations on making official what Yankee fans have known for years. You’re the best around. And one day I’ll get to tell my kids “I used to see him play all the time!”
(That’s probably when my dad will bound into the room with an urn of my cat’s ashes: “Yep! And here is good old Mariano Rivera right here!”)
Ok, yeah, CONGRATULATIONS! Probably just should’ve ended tribute on that note.